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SHOP TALK

A round-up of supermarket news and gossip
The Sainsbury family’s influence on the giant supermarket group would appear to be as strong as ever. The founding family shareholders will not back Delta Two’s £10.6bn takeover bid unless the Qatari-backed fund has reached an agreement with the pension fund trustees. A formal offer is expected from Delta two at the time of going to press. The pension trustees and Delta Two are £750m apart in their calculation of the money required to fund the pension deficit.

The trustees look after 85,000 fund members and have £4.25bn in funds under management.

The head of Waitrose launched a scathing attack on Tesco, accusing its rival of being anti-competitive and of using its financial might to stamp out rivals. Mark Price, the md of Waitrose went on to say that the Competition Commission must take action to stop Britain being changed into “Tescoland”.

Sainsbury plans to halve the rental bill for its hq by moving to King’s Cross in 2011. Sainsbury’s is thought to pay £50/ft2, for its 330,000ft2 home. At King’s Cross, where it will occupy 250.000ft2 the bill is expected to be about £36/ft2.

Could Stuart Rose of Marks & Spencer be preparing to disrupt the £10.6bn sale of J Sainsbury? Some dealers encouraged the rumour. Others called it a “Friday Story.”

Marks and Spencer has been working to launch the store at Bournemouth with a green makeover. Some aspects of carbon efficiency includes air conditioning which cools air only to head height, recyclable cabinet shelves, use of natural sunlight and proximity light sensors.

Competition regulators are to crackdown on bully-boy tactics from Britain’s biggest supermarkets in their relationship with suppliers. City sources familiar with the Competition Commission inquiry also said it would look to strengthen the voluntary code of conduct between supermarkets and their suppliers.

Like-for-Like food sales at The Co-operative Group rose 5.2% in the 28 weeks to July 28, helped by new Truly Irresistible and Healthy living product ranges. The food stores gained 15% sales lift from refitted stores over the period.

It is 59 years since Karl and Theo Albrecht opened a no-frills grocery store amid post-war ruins in Essen, Germany. Now known as Aldi – after Albrecht Discount, it has gone on to be one of the fastest growing retailers in the world. In the UK, Aldi is opening at the rate of 50 a year as part of a plan to expand to 1500 stores from the current 400. Globally Aldi has more than 7,500 shops,turning over an estimated £30bn.

Other low cost supermarkets expanding in the UK include: Netto and Lidl having enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years.

Wal-Mart has formed a partnership with the Carbon Disclosure Project to get suppliers to manage greenhouse gas emissions better. It will begin with a pilot group of seven products.

Tesco is intent on cracking America, but has chosen to replace staff with scanning machines which do not prove popular with customers.

Tucked away in a corner of Hampshire is “Branch 360 of Waitrose”- the codename for a 4,000-acre country estate owned by the supermarket. An hour from its hq in Bracknell, Waitrose operates a farm that supplies 27 tonnes of mushrooms and 5m litres of milk each week to its shelves, as well as flour, apples, honey and eggs.

Tesco is to start transporting freight along the Manchester Ship Canal, which it says will cut its carbon emissions by 80% because of the reduction in its road traffic.

Wal-Mart has announced plans to cut the prices of 15,000 items. As much as 40% of the packaging in an average household shopping basket cannot be recycled. A survey for Local Government Association also found that 5% of the contents were made up of packaging. Lidl had the heaviest packaging while Marks and Spencer had the lowest levels of wrapping that could be recycled. Asda was found to be the best performing with the lightest packaging, of which 70% was recyclable.

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